Bishop Lewandowski calls racism an enemy of synodality

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Bishop Bruce Lewandoski heads Archbishop William E. Lori’s Journey to Racial Justice Coordinating Council. (CR file)

When a dark-skinned man dressed in dirty old clothes walked into a church and approached the altar railing, the ward secretary saw him through the security camera and suspected that he was about to commit a crime.

Within minutes, the police arrived and questioned the man. It turned out that the man’s brother died in his home country and wanted to light a votive candle under the statue of a saint and say a prayer for his brother’s soul.

“Every crisis requires a response and a plan of action to become a less racist church and world,” Auxiliary Bishop Bruce A. Lewandowski, C.Ss.R., recounting the incident in a session of the National Catholic Association of Diocesans. Directors of the Hispanic Ministry Virtual Conference September 28-30.

In the case cited by Bishop Lewandowski, which occurred in a parish outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore, someone had to speak up and apologize to the man for the harm he caused him and someone else must have told the secretary about her approach to the people in the ward. .

Bishop Lewandowski’s workshop focused on pastoral responses to racism. Building on the theme of the conference, “Living Synodality in Hispanic Ministry,” the bishop called racism “the enemy of synodality”.

Bishop Lewandowski, who heads Archbishop William E. Lori’s Journey to Racial Justice coordinating council, described synodality as a new term that expresses the identity of the church as a people of God on pilgrimage to the kingdom of God. It underlines the common dignity of all Christians and affirms their co-responsibility in the evangelizing mission.

He defined racism as what makes people view each other with suspicion or cause them to attribute negative characteristics to a particular group of people.

While synodality brings love, unity, understanding, solidarity and brotherhood, racism brings the opposite, which is violence, division, prejudice, hatred, destruction and fear.

“God’s dream is a world without racism,” Bishop Lewandowski said, noting that the change in attitudes, systems and feelings will not happen overnight.

“Racism is a life process,” he said. “The aim is to build an environment that is intolerant of racism. “

Bishop Lewandowski encouraged his audience not to label other individuals as racist, but to do an honest soul-searching.

“Only then can we look around and detect the racist patterns, barriers and obstacles that prevent people from living synodality in brotherhood and unity,” Bishop Lewandowski said. “We need to recognize our past and our present where the victims of racism are not only African Americans, but also many immigrants.”

We want a transformation to become “more like Christ,” said the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s vicar for Hispanic ministry, “and towards the goal of“ an environment that does not tolerate racism ”.

The goal is to create an environment that embraces unity, brotherly and Christian love.

To create “an environment intolerant of racism,” Bishop Lewandowski suggested tools for Hispanic ministry leaders, such as support from facilitators, speakers, social media, prayer, and resources.

These resources included “A Pastoral Letter on Racial Harmony” from Retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans, “Open Our Hearts Wide” from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and “A journey to racial justice ”by Archbishop Lori.

“Although racism is not an easy topic,” said Bishop Lewandowski, “every crisis is an opportunity to learn in the process of healing, transformation and reconciliation”.

Visit https://www.archbalt.org/journey-to-racial-justice to learn more about the archdiocese’s response to racism

Email Priscila González de Doran at [email protected]

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